Doubling last year's participation, more than 80 Maryland companies are running food drives or giving money to support the 1997 Bags of Plenty food drive for the needy in Maryland.
"It's heartwarming," said Kathleen E. Hider, director of development for the Maryland Food Committee. "Companies and people are answering our call. BJ's Wholesale Club, for example, is running three separate drives at outlets in Owings Mills, Abingdon and Baltimore.
"Everyone is bombarded by calls from nonprofits this time of year, but people see that the need of the hungry is growing. More are calling to help."
The 12th annual Bags of Plenty drive, from Nov. 11 through Dec. 6, is the largest food campaign in the state. Once again, it's a joint effort: The Maryland Food Committee raises cash, and the Maryland Food Bank collects and distributes canned food.
Hider said the nonprofit groups hope to raise $60,000 in cash and 225,000 pounds of canned food. Last year the campaign produced $59,000 and 200,000 pounds.
If the cash goal is reached, she said, the committee will have raised $1 million over 12 years.
Bags of Plenty had big early years, gaining well over $100,000 for several years, and one year, raised $140,000.
Cash gifts dwindled to $40,000 in 1995 before making a comeback last year.
Besides buying food, the cash is used to support self-sufficiency programs and educational projects for families, Hider said.
William Ewing, executive director of the food bank, said Bags of Plenty donated 150,000 meals last year, and the need is greater this year.
"Welfare rolls are decreasing," but that means the state has more working poor, he said. "The guy who makes $6 an hour -- the working poor -- can't make it on that."
By yesterday, 30,000 pounds of food were collected.
Donors may take canned goods to three Giant Food store parking lots:
Perring Parkway and Joppa Road: A bus from the Mass Transit Administration will receive food today through Sunday. Hours are 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. today, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. tomorrow and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Ritchie Highway in Glen Burnie: A Mayflower truck will be open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday.
Merritt Boulevard, Dundalk: Radio personalities Herman and McBean from 104.3 FM COLT radio will accept food from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 28.
Donors may also take food to collection points at any Giant Food store or Baltimore City fire station through Dec. 6.
Credit card donations may be made from Baltimore, Baltimore County and Howard County by calling SUNDIAL at 410-783-1800, Ext. 2247. From Anne Arundel county, call 410-268-7736, from Carroll County, 410-848-0338, and from Harford County, 410-836-5028.
Checks may be sent to Bags of Plenty, P.O. Box 75164, Baltimore 21275-5164, or in person at any Signet Bank branch in Central Maryland through Dec. 6.
Information, Kathleen Hider, 410-366-0600, Ext. 122.
Pub Date: 11/21/97